Rolling hills, stunning peninsulas and picturesque islands sum up the description of Karongi at a glance. Over the past ten years or so, I have been fleeing to this paradise whenever the need to replenish "vitamin peace of mind" arises.
There is so much one can do while visiting Karongi. For starters, a tour of the islands arouses dreams of paradise. There are several islands near the area’s jagged edge shoreline. The vista of these magical creations entices every nature enthusiast.
If you are an energetic adventurer, consider cycling or trekking along the Karongi segment of the Congo Nile Trail. The trail, cutting through the Congo Nile Divide, attracts tourists determined to discover the hidden gems of the Kivu Belt through the off-the-beaten path. The divide is a watershed separating the drainage basins of two iconic rivers: the Congo and the Nile.
In agro-tourism, Karongi offers hands-on tea and coffee experiences. Through these unique excursions, tourists are taught how to convert crops into the beverages they can’t do without. The popularity of tea and coffee is mind-boggling. Globally, the number of cups consumed every single day is staggering.
Those interested in beekeeping can opt for a honey production experience. I have to admit, beehives are not as welcoming as those manicured tea fields I always write about. Unlike the camellia sinensis plants, bees are not peaceful. Despite the violent nature of bees, there is nothing to worry about. Donning the right set of protective gear will enable you to participate in this activity safely.
A good number of men living in Karongi are fishers. Tourists are welcome to experience the day-to-day life, or rather, the night-to-night life of a local fisherman. Most fishermen go to work in the evening and return home in the morning.
Tourists who choose to indulge in a fishing expedition join hands with fishermen to propel fishing boats to their respective harvesting locations. As they do so, they also learn their hosts’ favorite motivational songs. Lake Kivu fishers sing songs while paddling. Singing boosts their morale and enhances their teamwork.
Once they reach their fishing spots, they stretch the nets underneath their boats and set up lit lanterns. The light produced by the said lanterns attracts fish. These poor aquatic creatures always fall prey to the trick. The fishing experience comes with valuable life lessons on motivation, teamwork, communication, resilience and patience.
Furthermore, there are community-based and cultural excursions tailored to give tourists a glimpse into the host community’s lifestyle and heritage. These activities enable visitors to experience something new, develop new skills and expand their horizons.
In the museum of environment, visitors drown in the sea of knowledge. Information dispensed from this oasis is deep and wide. The museum’s splendid rooftop garden has a collection of native plants used by our forefathers to cure different diseases.
While in Karongi, the sunset will undoubtedly attract your attention. During sunset, the lake turns indigo and the sky glows. Watching the sun dropping into the water is a spectacle you would want to witness one day.